Any plans for the Nick?
I see some success with fighters/fighter bombers on low naval attack.
Not R&D wise no, but I will most certainly build it in large numbers. Given its flexibility, I find the Nick to be an extremely important weapon in Japan's arsenal. Especially so in 1942 but really in some roles (I imagine) for the duration of the conflict.
That seems the right approach to my thinking.
Nick arrives too early for R&D to be worthwhile, and the subsequent Nick models are a downgrade in my view and the Randy B seems at best very slight improvement over the Nick A.
The other IJA fighter bomber options are a joke (Nate FB, anyone?) or arrive too late to be useful. I'd like to se the Ki-94-Ib as a fast, low naval attack plane, but with an arrival date of 11/45 and a service rating of 4, I find it hard to see when it would see action.
There is the Randy A, which is classed as a fighter. That may be an option if you want a high durability anti-bomber plane for the late war, but it has no bombs so less flexibility.
To be honest, I don't think it does much that the Frank R can't already do.
2) I find that having the Tojo even for only those several months before Frank shows up as potentially invaluable. It's also a service 1 fighter that I would continue to rely on in certain sitations for the rest of the game.
The Tojo is a very handy plane to have if the Allies make an all out fight of it early. And I think every JFB should plan on that, because you can adjust easily to a Sir Robin but you can't adjust to an early fighter without costing a lot of supplies.
I've always felt that the short-range on it really limits it's usefulness, especially outside of Burma.
An 8 hex range is fine for as confined a theatre as Burma, but largely limits the plane to a defensive role in other more expansive theatres. Challenging to use it in the Central Pacific, for example.
I think I'd rather have more Oscars that can be multi-role and lean on the Nicks (which you will likely build anyway to make use of the dedicated FB squadrons) for to back them up rather than spend R&D on a plane that has narrow use (both temporally and geographically) until the Frank appears in numbers.
The other consideration is that the Oscar has some value as a massed kamikaze airframe (not as good as the Frank however) while the Tojo doesn't really.
That said, happy to accept I'm the dissenting opinion on this one!
If the first Tojo that comes is good enough, they may be no reason to research farther along the line but then there is no problem building that one as you see how the game develops.
It also depends upon the scenario and the engine that it uses. If it uses a special engine in common with the Helen and you are not going to build any Helens, then I can see not building the Tojo at all nor any of those engines.
The best outcome in term of these decisions is impacted by numerous variables. Ranging from other production plans to preferred game style to most importantly the evolving situation on the map. I can't imagine I would have done as well against Andy Mac's concentrated and escorted bomber strikes in very early 1943 with just the Zero, Oscar and limited Nicks. The Tojo was key in that scenario, but most probably would not be as key in others.
That's a fair response. I suppose my thinking boils down to the fact that the last Oscar model seems comparable in many ways to the Tojo, but with much great potential uses. That of course ignores the timing and on-map demands.